On a side street in King’s Cross can be found a wall covered in plants in an unusual plant pot — a sculpture garden.

This is “Vert”, by the sculptor Neil Ayling and was put here on Wharfedale Road in October 2013.

It was commissioned by the local charity King’s Cross Community Projects to fill a previously blank wall on the King’s Cross gyratory system that’s beside Places for People’s Battlebridge Court block and adjacent to Complete Offices’ Lighterman House, both of whom were project partners.

Although the metalwork was by Neil Ayling, it was then planted up to a design by landscape artist, Marie Clarke. Although installed in late 2013, in the summer of 2016 it was completely replanted as it seemed that the previous plants weren’t quite suitable for the site, as they were smaller and emphasised the sculpture rather than the planting. That replanting won the silver prize in the 2016 Islington in Bloom competition.

I have to say that personally, looking at old photos, I preferred the original design, even though I can see why the locals wanted a lot more foliage and less sculptural planting.

The current riot of planting does somewhat conceal the sculpture.

Do also notice the protective bollard next to it, as it’s in the same structural style.

Apart from enlivening the area, it also stopped the pavement from being used as a car park, as the Google street view archive shows it often was.

Plants instead of cars.


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  1. Sophie says:

    Hi Ian,

    The planting in the sculpture was always supposed to have been wildlife friendly, so the sculptor and planting designer were briefed for that. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until the planting designer had planted up that I realised how far she had strayed from the brief. That’s why we changed it. You are right, we love the lush green plants we have now. And, icing on the cake, blackbirds nest in the climbing jasmine 🙂

  2. Jennifer says:

    Plants instead of cars indeed!

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